Biking in Ireland 2002

Hello Canada! The boys are hiking and the girls in town, shopping yet again! So, I thought I would take this opportunity to send out a more detailed description of our trip. It started very well for \Gord and me as we were bumped to first class upon departure...Air Canada needed a couple more seats in the cattle car, Gord new the chap on the desk - so we were the lucy ones. The weight gain began about 1/2 hour from departure time.

From Lndon to Belfast was uneventful. Landed and my cousin Norm's husband Ricky meeted us with a school mini bus and took us and the gear to our B & B. It rained on and off for the rest of the day. Gord and I had dinner with long lost relatives - Norma, Ivor and Florence, all cousins of mine. Really super people - wish you all could meet them. Had a wonderful dinner. The rest of the Irish group headed out to a pub. We were all really tired - about 26 hours without sleep by the time we got to bed.

Day 1

Belfast to Ballemoney 89 kims. 10-15 degrees Sunny with clouds

GREAT RIDE - COUNTRYSIDE WAS beautiful. Visited relatives in Ballymena and toured my mums old homestead. Saw the school I attended many years ago. B & B in Ballymoney was warm - hospitality super. Weight gain well underway.

Day 2

Ballymoney to Cushendun. 10-15 degrees. 72 kms Cloud with sun. Headwind. Toured the Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-reede. After playing tourist, we hit hills never seen before by any of us - worse than the Gaspe - straight ups and downs with twists illegal in most countries. Designed by the sheep who frequent the hills and still use the roads to wander over. Scenery is amazing. Arrived at our B & B only to find that it was straight up a hill - about 1 km in. The hostess felt so sorry for us that she offered to take us to town ( 2 shifts - cars only hold 4 people) and fetch us once we were finished eating. We must have looked pretty sad! It was a really difficult cycle. Weight gain coming along just fine...

Day 3

Cushendun - Larne 10-15 degrees cloudy, some sun, some showers. 52 km A most pleasant day following the coast. No major hills, some headwind. We have learned one important fact in Ireland - no one ever knows the weather! If the weather is known - the forecast is wrong! Locals are complaining that it is colder and rainier than most springs. B & B in Larne is super as all have been., Larne is not a pretty town - a port and perhpas an industrial town - from here we hop a train to Belfast. My cousins and their spouses visit us at our B & B - so gald they took the time to meet us with us. All the riding we have done and it only took them an hour to get to Larne from Belfast! Had a great shat, was sad to say goodbye.

Day 4

Train from Larne to Belfast and Belfast to Dublin. Weather is steadly getting worse, more rain less sun. Good to put our feet up in the train. The break from cycling is nice - also affords us the opportunity to chat with local folks. Peddle from the train station to O'Connell street - WOW! So alive! Dublin is oboviously a very busy centre - pubs, pubs pubs - all full of smoke! We fresh air nuts have great difficulty with the smokey atmosphere! So, we took a city tour and saw all the highlights of Dublin. Really enjoyed the city. Lots of shopping - Bruce you would have hated this!

Day 5

Dublin to Cork. via rail 12-15 degrees. Weather is cloudy. Arrived in Cork early afternoon. Cycled to our B & B - not as fancy as what we had in the past but sufficient. Toured Cork - Ron, Mother Goose, took his goslings in tow.

Day 6

Cork to Vallingeary 16-18 degrees sun cloud and showers. Perhpas 60 odd kms.Today is finally warm! Started out rainy, but soon changed to sun as we got on our bikes. It only took us about 1 1/2 hours to exit Cork - took a few wrong turns up a hill to die for! 1 mile of hell!. Claudia fell off her bike and left blood on the road! This is the day we kissed the Blarney stone! Fun! All but Betty - she doesn't kiss dirty stone! Great woolen shop in Blarney - lots of money left behind. We spent a lot of time in Blarney so had to make haste the rest of the afternoon, cycling hard to get to our B & B - yet up another long hill again. This place was wonderful - we had dinner here also - and what a meal. Weight gain is going very well. I couldn't eat all of mine but our host assured uss that nothing goes to waste and whatever is left over goes in the soup pot! Her husband Sean has been to the US - trade shows - as well as being a postman he has a leather factory and they ship to the US. Great hard working family - had tea in the kitchen and chewed the fat!

Day 7

Vallingeary - Glengarrif 18-20 degrees 44kms. Sunny - first stop was at Gougan Barra - beautiful spot - smallest church in Ireland - booked solid for weddings - on a lovely lake. Cycling pretty easy - got showers in the afternoon - one other thing we have learned about Ireland - the signs can be in kms or miles and this changes with the weather - so you never know just how far you are from anywhere - also, every road leads to where you are going just a different distance - no one cares! B & B is up agina - straight up - we walked (except for Chris), met Harry a boxer dog. This place was exotic! Garden on a steep hill down to a river with a stone walkway snaking down. Just beautiful. Had a great meal in a non smoky pub! A few more pounds to carry around - in fact Gord and I and Claudia did up a package of clothes to send home just to keep the weight down! This is a touristry place - housing expensive - we can see that we are moving into an area that caters to tourists. Weather not bad.

Day 8

Glengarrif to Kenmare. 64 kms 10-15 degrees Today is our first serious climb in the south through Healy pass. It wasn't too bad - reminded me of the whites as we were above tree line. Switch backs all the way up. Gord loved the down - scared me to death. Nothing changes - I still hate the downs! At the top of the pass it started to rain. Road is really narrow - one lane but the traffic goes two directions. No tour busses thank goodness. Rained hard in the afternoon - found a pub and watched the end of a soccer game. Got into Kenmare wet!

Day 9

Kenmare to Killarney 32 kms. Next climb was up Moll's gap. Clouds, rain, weather is getting progressively worse. Climb was OK not as steep as Day 8. Stopped at a great coffee shop ( sweets enjoyed by most) and gift shop. Money goes out again! Raining as we go down the mountain into Killarney and through the National Park. Sheep are scattered about the road so Gord can't get up any speed - oh darn! I can keep up. This park is amazing - paved biking trails throughout. Lots of old remains of castles and abbeys and stone homes, walls and bridges. WOnderful - except it is pouring rain. Once we got to our B & B - up hill again - we headed to town after an indoor picnic finishing off all our goodies - for more shopping and finally dinner. More food! After dinner Ron just had to show us around town and all the sights - another 40 kms riding around the park. Explored Rose Castle, the Franciscan Abbey and the meeting of the rivers and Touc waterfall. What a full day!

Day 10

Killarney - hike day - it's raining, cats and dogs, But the intrepid bikers head out....and it is cold! Peddled to the trailhead, 10 miles, in the downpour. Girls, being the voices of reason, decided to head back to town and the guys, driven by testrostrone and stubborness headed out. That was at 11:30 it's now 5:40 and we have not seen them yet! \However, we enjoyed lunch in a thatched cottage - soup and dessert! YUMMY!

That's it for now - tomorrow we head for the DIngle. Rain is all around......and it's cold. Having fun in the emerald isle!

Love to all - Nancy

Biking in Ireland #2

Nancy Warnica wrote:

It'a hard to find the internet cake among the pubs!

HI TO EVERYONE - HAVING A GREQT TIME. tHE WEATHER HAS BEEN COOL, SOME RAIN, NOT MUCH IN TERMS OF SUN!. We are now in Killarney, after cycling up to Moll's pass - about 6 kim up and a nice 10km down - except you cannot go too fast because of the sheep running around on the road! \Ron is taking us for a 6 hour hike tomorrow - 1 hour bike ride to the start - 6 hr hike and 1 hour ride back to the B & B. \Food is great and plentiful - no weight loss in this group.

Could Judy check on things at home for me and send out an email. I miss my animals!

We have 460km so far - not hard days - except one...lots of touring around the towns once we arrive.

Betty is a real shopper! People are extremly friendly, drivers pretty good too. The roads are really narrow - about 1 and 1/2 lanes wide in Canadian terms. We call Ron mother goose - he leads us!. Gord has bought a cane for tomorrows hike!

The country is absolutely beautiful!. Cheers for now -

Biking in Ireland #1

Hi there - we are doing extremly well here in the emerald isle weather has been changeable, but so far no biking in the rain! saw the steepest hills ever - worse than the \gaspe - straight ups and we all walked. hairturn pins unbelievable we are now departing dublin - what an awesome city - so alive and exciting. in cork tonight and cycling again tomorrow. duffy - gord says you have to break on these hills hope all is well at home - will find another internet cafe soon and write a more detail note.

Cheers! Nancy